Happy Halloween!! "Saw 3D: The Final Chapter" Review

Photo Credit: Lionsgate

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Happy Halloween!! "Saw 3D: The Final Chapter" Review

Rating: R (sequences of grisly, bloody violence and torture, and language)
Length: 90 minutes
Release Date: October 29, 2010
Directed by: Kevin Greutert
Genre: Crime/Horror

Jigsaw (Tobin Bell), the mad genius in the first few films in the "Saw" franchise, may have died, but he now has a replacement in Hoffman (Costas Mandylor), a cop who survived one of Jigsaw's trademark traps. He is a very willing and capable protégé, building infinitely creative devices to ensnare victims. Usually these victims are people who he judges to be wasting their lives, and he uses the traps to either kill them or frighten them into changing their ways. These targets are usually random, but in "Saw 3D: The Final Chapter," the targets are much more personal.

In an age when almost anyone can become a star through the medium of reality TV, Bobby (Sean Patrick Flanery) has become a media sensation. He claims that he survived one of Jigsaw's traps, and that it changed his life for the better. Hoffman knows that Bobby is lying in order to get attention and make money, so he decides to teach him a lesson. He kidnaps Bobby and his wife, putting them in rooms on opposite ends of an enormous building full of deadly booby traps. Bobby must get to the other side to rescue his wife but not before going through a long series of traps designed to push him to his limits and punish him for lying to the world.

Hoffman also targets Jigsaw's ex-wife Jill (Betsy Russell), which dredges up some of the origins of the franchise. Previous installments have slowly revealed Jigsaw's mysterious past and why he began making all of these traps in the first place. Since this is the final installment, the last details are revealed, leaving the audience with a great sense of satisfaction, whether poor Bobby survives or not.

One of the hallmarks of the "Saw" franchise is the creative use of traps that Jigsaw's victims have to get out of. The other big hallmark is the gore, though that wasn't always the case. In the original "Saw," writers Leigh Whannell and James Wan created an environment that was pretty gross in its griminess, but wasn't really gory until the final frames, when the trapped doctor, played by Cary Elwes, used a saw and cut off his own foot in order to escape. Whannell and Wan have since let go of the franchise, entrusting it to a new set of writers and directors who took it in the gorier direction, relying less on suspense and more on in-your-face graphicness. "Saw 3D: The Final Chapter" aims to create a balance of sorts between these two aesthetics, mixing in quite a bit of gore along with some suspense. It also features several stars from previous movies, including Elwes himself, almost like the film is paying homage to the entire franchise as it is being wrapped up. It's a nice wink and nudge from the filmmakers to the devoted audience that has stuck with the series through all seven films.

This is the first and subsequently only film in the franchise to use 3D technology, taking advantage of this growing trend in films. Most films that get a three-dimensional release are actually filmed using a regular camera and then get the conversion to three dimensions during the post-production phase. This can make for a very uneven use of the technology, rendering it far less effective. "Saw 3D: The Final Chapter" actually used an SI-3D digital camera during filming, which means that it did not have to go through a conversion. Though only a handful of scenes really take advantage of the SI-3D capabilities, the ones that do are a whole lot of fun to watch. It helps up the gore factor exponentially when a disembowelment scene results in intestines seemingly being hurled at the audience. It definitely isn't for people with weak stomachs, but then again, none of the "Saw" films really are.

Some horror franchises have released "final chapters" before, only to create a new sequel just a few years later. So far, no plans have been finalized for an eighth "Saw" film, so this one does appear to be the last in the series. If so, it is a fitting close to a franchise with a fervent fan base that pushed the boundaries of what was acceptable to show in horror movies in terms of graphic gore. Sure, there are whispers that the franchise might get rebooted, but that would be a separate set of movies that will stand on their own. "Saw 3D: The Final Chapter" wraps up this series with a bang, not to mention copious amounts of stage blood.

Rating: 3 out of 5